Last month we began our perilous exploration of that darkest of all Fall of DELTA GREEN labyrinths: the Federal bureaucracy. More specifically, and contra JFK, we explored what that bureaucracy could do for you — or for your Agent, as he deploys his Bureaucracy ability  in the course of the campaign. (See our previous installment for the standard Difficulties and disclaimers.) We’ve covered everything from Aircraft Access (you have a plane!) to Laboratory Testing (we found out what was in your plane!); this month, we press ever deeper in.

No sir, this spawn is far from form-less

Legal Pressure

When you’re sniffing around a cult leader or dodgy laboratory, this lets you open up a diversion — or even a second front — by putting other government hounds on their trail. This might take the form of an FBI loyalty check, an IRS audit, an FBN raid, an internal affairs investigation or squeeze on their government support, or anything else suggested by your warrantless search and inadmissible nightmare visions. (Just calling the local cops or arranging a roadblock is more in the Cop Talk bailiwick.) Even more than most of these string-pulling maneuvers, this can backfire. Trying to law-bully a MAJESTIC contractor, for example, likely triggers counter-pressure in the form of heavy GMC Bureaucracy shots aimed at the Agents and their ostensible superiors, which upsets DELTA GREEN very much. Response to clear evidence of criminality or treason: FBI, FBN, Customs, US Marshals (Diff 4); Justice Department, Treasury (Diff 5); AFOSI, DIA, ONI, CIA DPlans Counterintelligence Staff, other military or natsec internal security (Diff 4 for military/natsec targets; Diff 6 to tip off civilian authorities); other USG (Diff 6). Simple harassment or fishing expedition: FBI, FBN, Justice Department (Diff 5 for your own agency, Diff 7 for another agency such as the IRS or Customs); Treasury, U.S. Marshals (Diff 6); other USG (Diff 7+). Re-open a closed investigation: +2 to regular Difficulties.

MAJESTIC Access

Agents may want to enter MAJESTIC facilities, read reports, interview witnesses, and so forth in the course of their investigations. MAJESTIC doesn’t want them to, but we’re all still on the same team, right? Right? Each MAJESTIC Project has a “patron agency”: MJ-1 operates under the NSA, MJ-2 under State, MJ-3 under the NRO, and so on (FoDG, pp. 167-173). Working within (or through) those departments can open some doors, narrowly and briefly, for DELTA GREEN investigators. Access can be divided into three sorts: one-time access, white-badge (MAJESTIC) clearance, and black-badge (MAJIC) clearance. Most DELTA GREEN missions only require one-time access to “outer” MAJESTIC sub-projects, personnel, or materiel: you get badged in, escorted around by security, ask your questions or read your folder, touch the meteorite or look through the lens, and leave. One-time access: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 6); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 7); other MJ patron agency (Diff 8). Agents need white-badge clearance to even get supervised, temporary access to “inner” MAJESTIC sanctums like Area 51 or MOON DUST hangars. Temporary white-badge clearance: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 8); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 9); other MJ patron agency (Diff 10). Black-badge clearance looks behind the curtain; MJ-3 doesn’t grant it often. Temporary black-badge clearance: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 10); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 11); other MJ patron agency (Diff 12).

Military Transport

The U.S. military ships millions of men and billions of tons of materiel all over the Free World, and then some. Your Agents can hitch a ride on a truck convoy, fly in the belly of a C-130, or stage from a Coast Guard cutter. Point-to-point within the US: Military, USAIC, DIA, AFOSI, ONI, Defense Dept, NASA, NSA, ARPA, AEC, NRO, CDC (Diff 4); CIA (Diff 6); other USG (Diff 7). FBI, FBN, US Marshals, and other law-enforcement generally fly commercial and use agency motorpools; Diff 4 or 5 for regular travel, Diff 6 to get a military transport anyhow. From the US to a foreign destination: all +1 Diff except CIA (Diff 5; DPlans Diff 4) and State Dept (Diff 5). Foreign origin-US destination: all +2 Diff. Use the same Difficulties to just ship cargo. Add at least +2 Diff if a special mission has to be planned to accommodate you (search from a carrier, ride on a submarine, parachute drop, etc.).

NCIC

In 1967, the FBI launches the National Crime Information Center. This computerized database contains over 350,000 records of stolen vehicles and license plates, stolen or missing guns, and wanted, fugitive, or missing persons; all linked by teletype to state FBI offices and state police and investigative bodies. Accessing a record: FBI, US Marshal, FBN, Justice Dept (Diff 4); Customs, ONI, AFOSI, DIA (Diff 5); other USG (Diff 6). Deleting or altering a record requires FBI access and is at least Diff 9.

Project Jacket

Provides at least the high-level summary of a given project, its funding, end user, personnel etc. Sometimes you can back into a project jacket (or at least discover its existence) by researching seemingly innocuous government programs (cover programs, or programs with overlapping personnel or facilities) or facilities. Difficulties depend on project classification. Unclassified: Originating agency, Library of Congress (Diff 4); other USG (Diff 5). Sensitive: +1 Diff except CIA, ARPA, NSA (Diff 5). Confidential: +2 Diff except CIA, NSA, ARPA (tech projects only), DIA (military projects only) (Diff 6). Secret: +3 Diff except CIA, NSA, ARPA (tech projects only), DIA (military projects only) (Diff 7). Top Secret or code-word clearance: Requires specific action and investigation by Agents, as passive Bureaucracy can only turn up overlapping jackets and even that at +4 Diff.

Quarantine

Worried about unnatural contamination? Want to seal off a UFO crash site? Declare a quarantine, or a restricted zone! This requires some kind of trigger: lights in the sky or mysterious deaths might already be happening, of course! AEC, CDC (Diff 5); NASA, ARPA (Diff 6); USAF, FBI (Diff 7). Add +2 Diff and re-test for each 12 hours of quarantine; if the population or area sealed off is large, that adds another +2 Diff at least. Quarantine a block of Brooklyn or a hundred miles of interstate, you’ll get phone calls from your boss.

Spy Plane

Getting access to imagery or other intelligence product from an existing mission is easier than re-tasking a whole flight (+4 Diff or higher). RB-57F “weather” reconnaissance flight product: AEC (domestic, Diff 6); CIA PAD or SOD (overseas, Diff 6); CIA OSI (Diff 6); Defense Dept, DIA, NRO, CIA, ONI (Diff 7). SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance product (after 1964): NRO, USAF (Diff 6); CIA DInt, Defense Dept (Diff 7). U-2 spy plane product: CIA DInt (Diff 6); CIA, NRO, NSA, USAF (Diff 7). Spy satellite product: NRO, CIA OSI (Diff 6); NASA, AEC (Diff 7). Re-tasking a satellite takes at least +8 Diff, and requires weeks and likely a continuing challenge (FoDG, p. 082).

Surveillance

“Don’t we have guys who can watch the cult compound?” Indeed you do, my fine Federal friend. DELTA GREEN doesn’t like having outside eyes on the unnatural, but it’s better than nobody’s eyes on it. With plausible cover, supervisory (or advisory) Agents can task small non-player teams to follow targets or watch a structure, but not to interfere or interact. Domestic: USAIC, FBI, FBN (Diff 6); US Marshals (Diff 7); Overseas: CIA, DIA (Diff 6). Re-test every 24 hours. Wiretapping a suspect requires a court order, except when it doesn’t: FBI, NSA, CIA Division D (Diff 7).

Translation

Don’t ask some poor GS-5 to translate the al-Azif. It won’t end well, for you or her. But cult scriptures, witness testimony, and garbled wiretaps all yield their bounty to the linguistically qualified. Older, more obscure languages and dialects add to the Difficulty of course. Library of Congress (Diff 4); State Dept (Diff 5); CIA, DIA, NSA (Diff 6); FBI (Diff 7).


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

In 1996, an RPG appeared in which you played agents of a secret conspiracy within the Federal government, one that battled Grey aliens, black magicians, and rival government programs. It was perfectly tuned to the late-90s X-Files ambiance, and won plaudits for its deep dives into the cryptic worlds of anomalous science and government bureaucracy. I refer, of course, to Conspiracy X by Rick Ernst, Shirley Madewell, and Chris Pallace.

The system was kind of all over the place (the 2nd edition ported it over to Unisystem with good results) but it had a couple of nice touches. One of them was a mechanic called “Pulling Strings,” which amounted to cool discounts and activities your characters could buy depending on their originating agency. In very broad strokes, the Agency and Bureaucracy abilities in Fall of DELTA GREEN model that sort of behavior: calling in favors, carefully wording a field report or phone call, or just filling out a TPS form and waiting for the machinery to grind out a result. But the corebook leaves matters up to the players’ imagination, which may not always reach to the upper tiers of Pentagon mission prep.

Your request is very important to us

So here are some strings your Fall of DELTA GREEN Agents might pull, some outcomes they might pursue. The relevant ability is always Bureaucracy (FoDG, p. 063). Difficulty varies by department, and assumes at least a colorably plausible excuse. Remember, you can spend relevant Agency points (for double their value!) on Bureaucracy tests against a given organization; when Cooperating (FoDG, p. 081) the Agent (if any) in the relevant organization always counts as the “leader.” Remember the standard Difficulties: Diff 4 (you have clearance/jurisdiction/tasking already; it’s part of your normal job), Diff 6 (you have to pull strings), Diff 8 (you have no business asking). And the standard modifiers: Raise Difficulties by +1 for state or local agencies or rival divisions of your own agency, +2 for other federal agencies or military branches, and by +3 for agencies of other governments. Add +2 to cut turnaround time by an increment: weeks to days, for example. Equipment requisitions (FoDG, p. 135) have similar, overlapping modifiers and Difficulties. As with all Difficulties, the Handler should apply them based on her notion of game reality and the needs of the mystery.

Aircraft Access

To borrow a restricted hangar or just get a hangar of your own for a week: AFOSI, CIA DPlans domestically, any CIA overseas (Diff 4); other USAF personnel (Diff 5; Diff 4 overseas); Customs, FBI, FBN (Diff 6). Borrow a USG (US Government) helicopter or small plane, like a Forest Service or Customs aircraft (with or without pilot; the more expensive the plane, the more likely you have to borrow a pilot also): Customs (Diff 5); FBI, FBN, US Marshals (Diff 6; Diff 5 with Cop Talk); ARPA, AEC, CDC (Diff 6). Requisition an armed aircraft, only in a war (or active training) zone: Active duty Army or USMC, CIA SOD (Diff 5 for a Huey helicopter gunship, +2 or more for more powerful craft); other CIA (Diff 6); other Defense Department (Diff 7). Getting an armed aircraft off a domestic military base requires a falsified training order: Diff 8 minimum, and certain discipline if you fire its weapons outside an established firing range.

Air or Artillery Strike

To call in an air or artillery strike, only in a war zone: active duty military officer, MACV-SOG (Diff 4); CIA DPlans or SOD (Diff 5). Agents can also task a bombing run (1d weeks delay) through the Pentagon: any DoD (Diff 5); CIA (Diff 6). Outside pre-established bombing and “free fire” zones, an air strike ensures an investigation.

Dossiers

By and large, getting a photograph and dossier on a person of interest reduces the Difficulty of General tests (or at least Stealth surveillance tests) against them by -1. Dossiers on Americans: FBI (Diff 4 or 5); US Marshal (Diff 5); CIA (Diff 6). Dossiers on foreigners: CIA (Diff 4 or 5); DIA, ONI (Diff 6 unless specific mission calls for it). Specific types of dossiers might come in handy. A counter-intelligence (CI) dossier analyzes a US subject’s foreign contacts and weak points: FBI (Diff 4 or 5); AFOSI, CIA, NSA, ONI (Diff 6). Criminal record: FBI, FBN, US Marshal (Diff 4); other Justice Dept (Diff 5); other USG (Diff 6). Financial records: FBI, FBN, Treasury Dept (Diff 5); Customs (Diff 6). Medical records: CDC (Diff 6). Security clearance reports: FBI (Diff 4); AFOSI, DIA, ONI (for military personnel, Diff 5); AEC, AFOSI, ARPA, DIA, NASA, NRO, NSA, USAIC (Diff 6); any Defense or Justice Dept (Diff 7).

False Papers

DELTA GREEN supplies you with the credentials it believes necessary. If you disagree, many Federal agencies provide cover credentials of various sorts. Fake civilian papers: CIA Domestic Ops (Diff 5); FBI, FBN, USAIC (Diff 6). Fake US passport: CIA DPlans or PAD (Diff 5); other CIA, State Dept (Diff 6). Fake foreign civilian papers (foreign passport, +1 Diff): CIA DPlans or TSD (Diff 5); other CIA (Diff 6).

Fingerprint File

Since 1924, the FBI has maintained a card file of fingerprints of everyone who has: been arrested for a federal crime, served in the military, applied for or received a sensitive position, legally immigrated. State and local law enforcement often send duplicate copies of their own fingerprint files to the FBI. It takes weeks to match a set of fingerprints if a match exists. FBI Lab (Diff 4); other FBI, FBN, US Marshals, Justice Dept (Diff 5); other USG (Diff 6). To quash or “lose” a fingerprint card: submitted from outside (+2 Diff), already in system (+4 Diff).

Interrogation Suite

Agents may need to interrogate suspects or persons of interest. Borrowing a room in a federal facility: FBI, FBN, US Marshal (Diff 4; Diff 3 with Cop Talk); USAIC, AFOSI, DIA, ONI, NRO, NSA (Diff 6; Diff 5 with Cop Talk). Borrowing a CIA facility: CIA (Diff 5; Diff 4 with Agency (CIA)); USAIC, DIA, ONI, NRO, NSA (Diff 7). Borrowing a trained interrogator (+1 Diff per point of Interrogation, and a good enough story to fool a trained interrogator). Access to truth drugs (only available at CIA facilities; see FoDG, p. 153; +2 Diff).

Laboratory Testing

Sending something off to a government lab for testing runs the risk of exposing outsiders to the Unnatural, but sometimes that beats the risk of testing a volatile Whatever in the high school science lab. Turnaround and response time is 1d weeks. A laboratory qualified to test the substance or evidence in question: ARPA, AEC, CDC, CIA Sci & Tech, Customs, FBI, FBN, NASA (own agency request Diff 5; other agency request Diff 7); other USG (+2 Diff).


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.